Goats’ Hair

The word for she-goat is used elliptically to mean goats’ hair, which was used in the tabernacle furnishings in the form of curtains (Ex 26:7; 36:14). Goats’ hair was probably used in the Midianite and Israelite camps in much the same way as in the Bedouin camps today (compare Nu 31:20). The tents, tent ropes and rugs are made of spun goats’ hair. The provision sacks which hold wheat, rice, etc., and the saddlebags are made of the same material. A strip of the cloth rolled up furnishes a bolster for the head while sleeping (compare 1Sa 19:13,16). Goats’ hair cloth is admirab1y suited to stand the hard usage of a frequently shifting encampment. The children of Israel appreciated its utility, even for the tabernacle, where to the modern critical eye it would have looked out of place, matched against scarlet and fine linen (Ex 25:4; 35:6,26). The fact that goats’ hair was used is good indication of the comparative crudeness of the tabernacle, when contrasted with present-day furnishings.


James A. Patch